Here’s the background to billboard.com’s open letter to Congress for gun control. It was signed by dozens of Hollywood luminaries. Specifically, lots of corporate execs you’ve never heard of and Ringo Starr, Barbra Streisand, Beck, Britney Spears, Questlove, Pusha T, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Selena Gomez, Stevie Nicks, Tony Bennett, Trent Reznor, Kesha, Zayne Malik, Peter Tork and Katy Perry. Country music artists? Not so much. Click here to see the wall of shame.
From the editors: Like the rest of the country and the world, Billboard editors were horrified by the mass killing at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub on June 12, and by the murder of singer Christina Grimmie the night before. Both tragedies occurred where musicians and music fans gathered. And so faced with another gun-related tragedy, the staff organized this special “Open Letter to Congress” cover of Billboard.
With the help of leading gun-violence prevention group Everytown for Gun Safety, editors reached out to those we cover in the music industry, and asked for their support and their signatures to help seek a sane and safe end to gun violence. Within minutes, Joan Jett was the first to sign on. Lady Gaga shortly followed. Within hours, and then in a matter of just a few days, nearly 200 top artists and executives—pop stars (including Grimmie’s friend Selena Gomez), rappers, rock gods, legends, Broadway heroes, even two Beatles and Yoko Ono—lent their voices to the chorus of Americans looking to our political leaders for change. Billboard, artists and music-industry executives join so many members of the House and Senate this week proudly advocating for common-sense gun safety.
AN OPEN LETTER TO CONGRESS:
STOP GUN VIOLENCE NOW
As leading artists and executives in the music industry, we are adding our voices to the chorus of Americans demanding change.
Music always has been celebrated communally, on dancefloors and at concert halls. But this life-affirming ritual, like so many other daily experiences—going to school or church or work—now is threatened, because of gun violence in this country.
The one thing that connects the recent tragedies in Orlando is that it is far too easy for dangerous people to get their hands on guns.
We call on Congress to do more to prevent the gun violence that kills more than 90 Americans every day and injures hundreds more, including:
Require a background check for every gun sale
Block suspected terrorists from buying guns
Billboard and the undersigned implore you—the people who are elected to represent us—to close the deadly loopholes that put the lives of so many music fans, and all of us, at risk.